TEMPO.CO, Benjina – Marine and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti's allegation of shady dealings between government officials and PT Pusaka Benjina has been proven. On Friday last week, Pusaka Benjina's director Hermanwir Martino admitted to Tempo that he had been giving money to marine patrol officers stationed in Benjina, Aru Islands, Maluku.
"Every month I shell out about Rp37 million to the patrol officers," said Herman.
The bribe, he said, was distributed between officers from the Marine and Fishery Ministry, the Directorate General of Immigration, the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, and the harbormaster of the Transportation Ministry.
"We gave them money to get sailing permits," he said.
Herman said his company bribed the officers of the Marine Resources and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force to have their boats passed inspection. The amount is Rp150,000 per vessel. For transport vessel or trempers, the amount of money paid to the inspectors is Rp5 million per ship.
Yoseph, head of the Marine Resources and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force, corroborated Herman's story. "For each freighter I get Rp4 million," he said. He also claimed receiving Rp1 million for every transshipment activity. The money was shared with his subordinates.
Director General of Marine Resources and Fisheries, Asep Burhanuddin, also confirmed Herman's revelation. One reason causing the bribery practice, he said, is the huge gap between officers' income and expenditure.
"Their salaries are small yet their expenses are plenty. The cost of transportation is expensive," he said, yesterday.
Asep said the bribery practice has been going on for quite a long time, and it involves not only officers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, but also other institutions such as the security forces and local government employees.
Asep said relevant ministries and agencies must work together to eliminate bribery. Asep also hopes that the government will give more attention to the welfare of its employees working in offshore areas.
DEVY ERNIS | ADITYA BUDIMAN